Travel Budget for Guinea-Bissau

A travel budget for Guinea-Bissau is a little bit hard to come up with since there are ways to blow your budget out of the water here.  If you want to head out to see the salt water hippos, you’ll spend much more than I spent.  However, if you are happy with the normal activities in Guinea-Bissau, than you’ll have no problem staying at a budget around $50 a day, even in Bissau.  Remember that there are no international bank machines in the country, so bring cash with you (Euros work best), or transfer via Western Union.

Guinea-Bissau

  • Food: $25/Day; My food costs were high in Guinea-Bissau because of the fact I always ate at places with wifi and they were more expensive.  In a way, I saved money I would have spent on internet cafes so it’s not as bad as it looks.  I think if you wanted to eat at local places in Guinea-Bissau you could eat for $10 a day.
  • Accommodation: $20/Day; I went about as cheap as you could go in Bissau without staying at a brothel.  On Ilha Bubaque, I could have gone much cheaper by staying at a homestead.
  • Transport: $1/Day; Two canoe boat rides, and a couple long distance taxis over a period of two weeks.  Not much spent here.
  • Activities: $0.25/Day; The only activity I spent money on was a bike rental on the islands
  • Misc: $6/Day; I had a visa for Guinea to get, plus treatment for the malaria that I finally caught. I also stocked up on meds here in Bissau.
  • Total: $52.25/Day; Based on my situation with the malaria, I’m not sure I could have gone much lower.  Sure I could have ate less at expat restaurants, but I needed to splurge.  I think you could probably travel Guinea-Bissau on as little as $45 a day.  If you wanted to do a big trip to see the surfing hippos on the islands or something, that budget could easily go as high as $100 a day.

Money Logistics

  • Local currency: Like French speaking West Africa, the local currency is CFA.  The rate is fixed with the Euro at 656 CFA per Euro.  It’s a hard currency and easy to exchange anywhere in West or Central Africa.  If you bring Euros or USD with you, they are easy to change.
  • Banks and ATMs: There are no international bank machines anywhere in Guinea-Bissau.  There is one bank in Bissau that might let you make a visa advance.  The best bet, however, is to take Euros with you when you go.  There are plenty of money changers, so getting rid of them is not an issue.  The other option is to have Western Union transfers sent to you.  Since there are few banks, there are Western Union branches all over Guinea-Bissau.
  • Traveller’s Cheques: A waste of time anywhere West Africa, I imagine.  I wouldn’t bother bringing them with you.  You’ll spend so much time and money trying getting them changed that it just isn’t worth it.  Besides, I’m not even sure there’s anywhere in Bissau that would change them for you.

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